Dear Gertrude

July 3, 2017
By sholab BRONZE, Vienna, Virginia
sholab BRONZE, Vienna, Virginia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

sometimes dead girls are just
dead girls.
there was a willow tree. a river.
that’s all.
and maybe
the fish ate her eyes first.
but she was young. and she is dead.
that is all. well

maybe
she did look like a mermaid
under all that blue. maybe she sang
with wide eyes     limp hands
as she drowned. maybe

maybe the whole thing is sort of grand.
like you thought. didn’t you? the way you put it --
a syrupy kind of heartbreak,
a daisied spectacle,
a rose-lined grave.

dear ophelia.
all the flowers in the world
couldn’t buoy her up long enough
for you to stop watching
and pull her out instead. maybe
it was
beguiling. and maybe
the fish ate her eyes first. and maybe
it doesn’t really matter
either way.

Ophelia.
she was young. and
she is dead. and
the willow sinks
under its own weight.


The author's comments:

I read Hamlet this year, and one of the most striking things to me was Gertrude's monologue describing Ophelia's death. I always wondered why, if Gertrude had enough time to describe her climbing the willow tree, falling, and drowning, and with such flowery language, what prevented her from actually saving her?Suicide in general, especially teen/adolescent suicide, has a tendency to get romanticized. Ophelia, depressingly, is only one example.


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